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Last Edmonton school zones converted to playground zones

The final school zones are converted to playground zones in Edmonton, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. Cliff Harris, Global News

The City of Edmonton has completed the implementation of playground zones.

The final school zones were changed to playground zones Wednesday morning at St. Basil School and Spruce Avenue School.

It brought the total playground zones in Edmonton to 407.

The City of Edmonton converts the final school zones to playground zones, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. Cliff Harris, Global News
The City of Edmonton converts the final school zones to playground zones, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. Cliff Harris, Global News

READ  MORE: Edmonton to consider lowering speed limits in residentialneighbourhoods

Some school zones didn’t include the area in front of playgrounds or sports fields. Those zones were converted to playground zones to include those areas, and are in effect every day from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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“Extending the hours of the 30 km/h speed limit protects children who use school grounds on weekends and evenings, and provides additional awareness for those attending after-school activities,” Anna Dechamplain, parks and roads services acting branch manager, said.

READ MORE: 30 km/h speed limit signs starting to go up around Edmonton playgrounds

In September 2017, city council voted unanimously to approve playground zones and the first playground zone conversation happened in November.

“When we first installed school zones in 2014, some people objected to the lower speed limit. Playground zones extend that protection,” Dechamplain said.

“In school zones, we have seen a speed reduction of 12 km/h in average speeds, a 41 per cent reduction in fatal and injury collisions, and a 71 per cent reduction in fatal and injury collisions which involved vulnerable road users.”

READ MORE: Changes to playground zones in Edmonton confuse some drivers

Drivers have said more needs to be done to make sure drivers are aware of the changes.

However, the city said there’s been plenty of education for drivers, citing a media campaign and access to information on the city’s website.

“It’s something we aren’t surprising people with,” Dennis Tetrault, traffic safety supervisor, said. “We made the signs as visible as possible. All of the playground zones have reflective poles [with] sleeves on them.”
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“Basically, you see yellow, you slow down.”

The city told Global News it has done secondary reviews at two locations and decided not to turn them into playground zones.

The locations were at W.P. Wagner High School on Wagner Road and 86 Street and L.Y. Cairns Junior High School at 106 street and 45 avenue. Road safety engineering technical specialist Ken Karunaratne said the decision was made after an investigation determined the area was fenced along the school yard and all students used a signalized crossing at 106 Avenue to access a bus stop.

“The results were discussed with the school principal and the School Traffic Safety Committee that has been established by the city which comprised of members from Edmonton Catholic and public school boards, Edmonton Police Service, AMA, city speed enforcement group and bylaw enforcement who agreed with our recommendation to remove the 30 km/h speed limit,” Karunaratne said.

The speed limit has reverted back to 50 km/h.